The Government has pinned its hopes on five local firms that produce non-plastic products and seven companies that recycle plastics to phase out the use of single use plastic materials without significant disruptions.
This was disclosed by the Minister for Environment, Dr Vincent Biruta, on Monday while addressing members of the parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Environment.
The session was assessing and discussing the draft law relating to the prohibition of manufacturing, use, and sale of single use plastic items.
Some single-use plastic materials collected during the launch of the campaign against use of such materials. Sam Ngendahimana.
“We have five firms that are producing non-plastic bags and are able to produce materials which can replace single-use plastics. Today, we already have people who are producing straws in paper,” the minister said.
He added that most of the single use plastic materials such as plastic bags, straws, coffee stirrers, plates and cups have alternatives.
“Our focus is on waste that single-use plastic cause and their consequences on the environment. So, having factories that are able to recycle plastics and be reused will help to collect that waste and save the environment,” he added.
The minister argued that this was an opportunity for investors.
“Some will be stopped immediately because they can be easily replaced. However, there are other products that cannot be replaced immediately. We urge people to start thinking about projects that can help with alternatives, for instance, replacing plastic bottles with bottles in glasses,” he said.
The MPs have largely backed the draft law, saying that single-use plastics are not only a threat to the environment but also to human life.
“We do not have to tolerate single-use plastics. They are dangerous, first of all, to our environment and also to people’s lives. Some Rwandans misuse them and use them several times which causes hygienic problems and may damage life,” said MP Eugene Barikana.